Sussex awarded highest national recognition for custody visiting

16/05/2019

The Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC), Katy Bourne, has been awarded a prestigious national recognition commending the quality of the Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme run by her office.

The PCC’s ICV Manager, Sarah Friend, was presented with the Platinum level award at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday, 15 May. This makes Sussex one of only two ICV schemes across the country to be recognised at this outstanding level; the highest that can be awarded.

This event was organised by the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA), a national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. In Sussex, the PCC facilitates a team of dedicated volunteers who visit those detained in police custody and check that their human rights and dignity are being upheld.

Welcoming the award, Mrs Bourne said: “The role of the Independent Custody Visitor is becoming more important, with volunteers in the frontline of the public holding the police to account. By winning the highest award I am very pleased that the dedication of our volunteers and the management of our scheme are being recognised as leading best practice in Sussex and other Force areas across the country.

“Trust in our police is essential and I am committed to keeping standards high in Sussex. People need to feel confident in their police force. They need to be assured that the police act with integrity and impartiality, that people are treated fairly, professionally and according to their needs. Independent Custody Visitors play an important role in getting this message out to the wider community and providing independent oversight of what is happening behind closed doors to people when they are at their most vulnerable.”

Sussex ICV Manager, Sarah Friend comments: “I am thrilled to have received the award on behalf of all the amazing ICVs in Sussex. They have worked so hard to get changes made for detainees, from getting thicker more appropriate bedding to the most significant change across the County of ensuring that there is a choice of menstrual products available for those who need it.

“ICVs often see detainees at their most vulnerable, they make visits to check on their welfare and this award gives recognition to the Volunteers that what they do is outstanding, thank you to each and every one of them.”

Martyn Underhill, Chairman of ICVA, said: “This award recognises that the highest standard of an ICV scheme is being run in Sussex, helping drive up the standards of our schemes across the UK.”

Katie Kempen, Chief Executive at ICVA said: "Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing. These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all.  I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments."

Notes for editors

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) is a Home Office, Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Police Authority funded membership organisation set up to lead, support and represent local independent custody visiting schemes. Find out more: icva.org.uk/about/

ICVA – What makes a good scheme? custodyvisiting.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/what-makes-a-good-scheme/ 

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